Thursday, July 28, 2011

Everyone Talks About the Weather, Really They Do - 7/27/2011

I am not an unfriendly person. In fact my daughter, Carly, calls me a line talker. I like to converse and I can carry on a conversation about almost anything, if it interests me. I enjoy making smart-ass remarks and appreciate intelligent repartee. But the older I get, the less I can participate in small-talk.

The truth is that I am not a good listener. That might be why I failed miserably as a counselor and wasted my time getting that degree. As soon as I lose interest in a conversation, I tune out. I may appear to be paying attention, but I am not. I can maintain eye contact. I can even watch your lips move, but my mind has moved on without you. I had a tolerance for small talk when I was younger and if it was a woman that I was interested in. That is where I learned to maintain eye contact, although sometimes that focus wandered south.

I live in a condo where most of the residents are even older than I am. I can usually avoid these people, but sometimes the door doesn’t close fast enough and I share the elevator with one of them. I do my best to avoid eye contact and try to actually become invisible. This is difficult as I am 6’1” and weigh about the same as a side of beef. It is hard to hide in a 5X5 enclosure. I do not believe that just because two people occupy the same space that a conversation has to ensue. A simple polite nod or “hello” is sufficient for me if I have blown my cover. Even a “wassup” from a younger person, is acceptable, though not preferred. I have pretended to be engaged in a conversation on the cell phone, only to have it ring. So a verbal exchange is often inevitable.

Why do people when they reach a certain age all become meteorologists? They fixate on the weather like red neck on a bowl of grits. If I am stuck with a super senior, I can guarantee I will receive a weather report before I can get out of that confinement. “It sure is a hot one.” I nod but what I really want to say is “it is July in South Carolina, what the fuck do you expect, a blue northern?” Even if it had rained for six solid hours and the elevator is taking in water: “we sure needed that rain.” Are we now farmers here at Captain’s Harbour? Do we have crops to irrigate? I really don’t NEED any rain, ever. I have lived here for eight years and every time I turn the tap, water comes out. Even during the longest of droughts. When all I get from my sink is mud or dust, I will worry about precipitation.

If a person that hasn’t yet reached the age of mandatory weather reporting is trapped with me for the seemingly endless ride, the discussion will center on my dog, Skooter: “Is that a Beagle?” Again a nod but inside my brain is dying to respond: “nope, he is a Great Dane. He has a potassium deficiency.” Or: “My uncle had a Beagle.” Nod, thinking: “Where the hell is he? I want to party with him. Maybe we could become blood brothers.”
I don't wish to be an unfriendly neighbor. I wave like a sonofabitch when I
drive by these people or if I am on the balcony and they see me before I can duck down. And I will talk to them if I have anything important to say. For instance, if I see flames coming from their unit or someone is stealing their car. I totally agree with Robert Frost but unfortunately condos don’t have fences.


Lura said...

Perfect. I read. I chuckled. I detected shades of Dave Barry. BTW if I encounter you in an elevator I'm keeping my mouth shut. I know Skooter is a beagle.

Shammi said...

I promise not to ask if Skooter's a beagle, but I WILL be asking for an autograph from one of my favourite bloggers! :) That means you.

Blondie said...

I'm sorry, but now you are just being unreasonable. Riding in an elevator is uncomfortable for EVERYONE (not just YOU.) So, your "neighbors" are just trying to make "idle conversation" with a 6'1" "Loner" with a Beagle they know nothing about. WTF? Would you rather they bring up religion or politics? You chose to live in The SOUTH. Talking about the "Weather" is their way of saying they think you might be a Serial Killer.

Anonymous said...

This was hilarious and I soooo resemble this blog. I hate the idle chit chat that ensues when forced to share some space with others. I particularly dislike visiting with neighbors. I always fear it might make them think it will give them "drop in" privledges....eeeek. Too funny though, I certainly can relate to that trepidation of confined, forced converstation. Maybe you should get a little orange vest for Skooter that says, "Hearing ear dog"...that might keep the weather reports at bay. clo